The Psychopath and The Hare.

The debate is whether Joaquin Phoenix, who won an Oscar for Best Actor, portrays the Joker as a psychopath or not?

The Psychopath and The Hare Lip

Now, this is where I get to have a little fun, mixing up a kids’ story with Phoenix and his hare lip. Go here and here for just a couple of my blogs about the talented Phoenix and his hare lip, or technically his “microform cleft lip.”

The Psychopath and The Hare Lip

The Psychopath and The Hare (as in tortoise)

The Psychopath and The Hare 

And for the final twist,  “The Hare” is the shorthand abbreviation for a test used by psychological clinicians, esp those who work with criminals in prisons. The test, in use since the 1970s, helps   professionals determine who’s a psychopath since they’re almost impossible to treat effectively

“The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person’s psychopathic or antisocial tendencies.  It was developed in the 1970’s by Dr. Robert Hare, a Canadian professor and researcher renowned in criminal psychology, who has spent three decades studying the concept known as the psychopath and based partly on Hare’s work with prison inmates in Vancouver.

Robert Hare

Because psychopaths are often repeat offenders who commit sexual assaults or other violent crimes again and again, the PCL-R is used in the courtroom and in institutions as an indicator of the potential risk posed by individuals in psychiatric units or prisoners. The results of the examination have been used as a factor in deciding the length and type of prison sentences and the treatment subjects should or should not receive. It is accepted by many in the field as the best method for determining the presence and extent of psychopathy in a person. A modified youth version is also available for ages 12 – 18.

Robert Hare is the author of popular science bestseller, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us and the co-author of Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work.

The Hare PCL-R contains two parts, a semi-structured interview and a review of the subject’s file records and history. A 20-item symptom rating scale that allows qualified examiners to compare a subject’s degree of psychopathy with that of a prototypical psychopath. Each of the twenty items is given a score of 0, 1, or 2 based on how well it applies to the subject being tested.

Because an individual’s score can have important consequences for his or her future, Hare argues that the test should only be considered valid if administered by a suitably qualified and experienced clinician under scientifically controlled and licensed, standardized conditions.

•  glib and superficial charm
•  grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
•  need for stimulation
•  pathological lying
•  cunning and manipulativeness
•  lack of remorse or guilt
•  shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
•  callousness and lack of empathy
•  parasitic lifestyle
•  poor behavioral controls
•  sexual promiscuity
•  early behavior problems
•  lack of realistic long-term goals
•  impulsivity
•  irresponsibility
•  failure to accept responsibility for own actions
•  many short-term marital relationships
•  juvenile delinquency
•  revocation of conditional release
•  criminal versatility

A prototypical psychopath would receive a maximum score of 40, while someone with absolutely no psychopathic traits or tendencies would receive a score of zero.

A score of 30 or above qualifies a person for a diagnosis of psychopathy.

People with no criminal backgrounds normally score around 5.

Many non-psychopathic criminal offenders score around 22.”

Your turn to weigh in re The Psychopath and The Hare

Now that you know about The Hare test or checklist, it’s time to weigh in on whether Joker’s a psychopath or not.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ll be following up shortly with a blog addressing the debate. It’ll even have info about another test, the  Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale which you can fill our regarding your self, friends, or loved ones.

To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.

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